This perfect tropical night was filled with chocolate lovers, fine wine, and some of the most delectable, savory, sweet and shockingly scrumptious chocolate dishes I’ve ever tasted! Here are some pictures of this awesome evening to remember!
Okay, I admit it, I’m a chocoholic! So when I was asked to help the Kona Pacific Charter School at the Chocolate Festival this year, I was thanking my lucky stars for this scrumpt-deli-icious opportunity!
The Four Seasons Hualalai Resort hosted the event, which added to the “shopping at Tiffany’s” experience, and the evening was perfect with torches lit, cool tropical breezes, and flowers in bloom…truly a heaven on earth moment for all to enjoy!
I was there to help with the Silent Auction – and there were over $20,000 worth of items from motor bikes, to paintings, coffee and gift baskets to complete resort packages that included golf, massages, and the works!
Pictured above is one of the awesome chefs from the Fairmont Orchid, Executive Pastry Chef Aron Weber, standing next to his chocolate sculpture, yummy chocolate treats, and amazing Mexi-nese fusion on a saipan (more on that later!).
About the Big Island Chocolate Festival
In conjunction with the Kona Cacao Association and fundraising benefits going to the Kona Pacific Charter School, this first annual event was created by the parents of the school to support the children of South Kona in learning how to live off the land, grow their own food, and balance learning with hands-on activities and caring for their community.
Thanks to the Parents (pictured below right to left) Julie Ziemelis, Danielle Hadjes, Laurie Llanes Mattos, Delania Branham, and School Principal Usha Kotner standing on the left, along with members of the Kona Cacao Association.
The chocolate festival was off the charts fun and a huge success! The real estate company that I am a REALTOR with, Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, was also a sponsor and helped make this event super fun and exciting!
Feeding the Senses with Chocolate: Big Island Chocolate Festival Dishes
I like to cook with chocolate myself – frying meats with chocolate (hamburger for spaghetti, pork tofu, spam musubi), or mixing chocolate in creamy soups (mushroom soup with chocolate is a lick-the-bowl experience at my house)…so this event was actually a confirmation that I’m not crazy!
The movie Chocolat got me started. Do you remember the middle of the movie where they showed the gravy boat going around the table at the party? That awakened me to start cooking with chocolate…it’s been like medicine to the soul ever since!
The Four Season Hualalai: Panini Sandwich
So, this ended up being my favorite line to stand in (and who would’ve thought it would be exciting to stand in line?! …This line went around the corner).
The Four Seasons Hualalai, who won First Place for the People’s Choice Award, was serving a Panini Sandwich with Pork that was marinated in chocolate and BBQ sauce; it looked like a regular pulled pork sandwich, but my mouth was having an orgasmic experience to say the least!
The Fairmont Orchid: Kabocha Pumpkin Sushi
This Saipan dish by the Fairmont Orchid was the most delectably shocking experience of the night (as I mentioned earlier)! It was a fusion of Mexican and Japanese cuisine – a Kabocha pumpkin sushi with a patch of pulled pork on top, Mole dripping over, and Verde sauce on the side…surprisingly delicious.
I had to go back for seconds on this one! Each ingredient complimented the next, and I loved the variety of tastes blended together, enhancing the “melting pot” experience of living in Hawaii!
When Pigs Fly: Chocolate Marinated Ham and Chocolate Sausage
Chef Devin Lowder and his lovely wife, Kristin, Owners of When Pigs Fly, were serving two types of meats with potato – one was a chocolate marinated ham, and the other was a chocolate sausage.
I fell in love with the ham – the chocolate sauce was super yummy! They serve their products at the Keauhou Shopping Center Farmers Market on Saturdays – stop by for a visit!
The Chocolate Fountain
I was in awe of this towering chocolate fountain! There were fruits and cookies on a stick, and I was looking for a couple strips of bacon to stick in there! I had done that once at a REALTOR breakfast meeting where the West Hawaii Today group had brought a chocolate fountain along with breakfast. I just happened to stick a piece of bacon in the chocolate, and oh my God…the ladies there had to try it…it was sooo good!
The Big Island Chocolate Festival Experience
The best thing about this whole night was being able to see friends and spend time together! The people I got to re-connect with and have bonding moments with was priceless! It enhanced the whole “Chocolate as an Aphrodisiac” experience of food feeding the senses and building relationships!
The Law of Attraction set up perfect situations for me, and I am so grateful to the universe for lining this up to the very end! Pictured below is me with my friend and metaphysical teacher, Stephanie Marie Beeby (left), and her with her love, Devin (right). I met Stephanie on Facebook, and she will be moving to Kona in September..yay!
Special Thanks to Kirk Shorte of Shortini Photography for catching me on a special mission to get this platter to the Judges! I’ve been friends with Kirk on Facebook too, and have admired his work, though we had never met in person – and just as I was turning the corner to take this to the chocolate festival judges, he was in my path!
Here’s the whole album of Kirk’s photography work at this amazing Big Island Chocolate Festival event! Kirk can capture the feeling of a person, place, or thing, and he has surely captured the fun moments at this festive occasion!
Big Island Chocolate Festival Winners
And last but not least, here are the winners from this fabulous event! We hope to see you next year at the 2nd Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival!
- The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii: Big Isle Chocolate Pork Mole w/Tomatillo Salsa over Kabocha Pumpkin Maki
- Hilton Waikoloa Village: Orange Ginger Chocolate Mac Nut Crunch Torte
Best Bon Bons
- Sweet Paradise Chocolatier: Island Bounty Assortment: Lilikoi Silk, Ka’u Cappuchino, Kula Lavender ’N Maui Honeycomb, Coconut Creme Brulee and Mango Eruption
Best Bean to Bar
- Madre Chocolate
First Place People’s Choice
- Four Seasons Resort Hualalai: 24-Hr Braised Wild Boar Grilled Cheese w/ Chocolate & BBQ Bourbon Sauce and Hawaiian Chili Pepper AND MacNut Crusted Chocolate Pop w/ Lilikoi Foam and Alae Salted Caramel (2 culinary offerings)
Second Place People’s Choice
- Kailua Candy Company: Cathy’s Retro Mai Tai
For more details on how you can participate in Big Island upcoming events, Call me!
Claire K. Bajo, RS, SRES